Season 6, Episode 1
Aired: April 25, 2016
Director: Jeremy Podeswa
Writer: David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
Ever since the season five finale, fans have been wildly speculating about the fate of Jon Snow. While it certainly seemed like he was dead after his brothers went full Julius Caesar on him, fans refused to believe it. (Me being one of them.) There was a Kit Harington hair watch. And rumors, then photos, of him being on set for season six.
Wisely, the season premiere opens right where we left off – by showing us a very dead Jon Snow. His body is scooped up by Davos and a handful of Night’s Watch who were loyal to Jon. Before long, Melisandre shows up and sees the body, adding fuel to the fan theory that she would be the one to revive him.
But then … she doesn’t. She seems confused by his death, but she does nothing to try to bring him back. And, by the end of the episode, Jon is still very much dead.
And yet, I’m still not buying it. Maybe it’s because Kit Harington’s name was still in the opening credits. Maybe it’s because it wouldn’t be narratively-satisfying for him to stay dead. But I still expect that somehow we will see Jon Snow rise from the dead. For now though, we will just have to wait and see.
With Jon Snow dead (for now), things at the Wall look incredibly bleak. The men who killed Jon have essentially created a self-fulfilling prophecy, as it seems the holdouts still loyal to Snow are reaching out to the wildlings to help them fight their way out of the Wall (or perhaps, take it back). I loved pretty much everything Davos did, particularly demanding mutton from the men who show up to kill him. I’m certainly rooting for him and the other men in that room to find a way to survive.
And, of course, I can’t talk about the Wall without talking about that final scene, which revealed that Melisandre is much older than anyone realizes. She presumably reverts to her “true form” in that final scene before climbing into bed. I’m curious what this reveal will mean for the future and it definitely adds something to her character, but I have to say that, as a closing scene, it felt anticlimactic. I think it was partially because going to Melisandre in the end made me think we were going to see her attempt to resurrect Jon. It’s okay that that wasn’t what they had planned, but when what we got instead was her taking off a necklace and going to bed, it was hard to not feel underwhelmed.
Personally, I think it would have helped the episode immensely if it had instead ended with the Sansa/Brienne scene, which was amazing. It had plenty of action, including Podrick awkwardly entering the battle and Brienne, unsurprisingly, kicking all of the ass. But the end, which saw Brienne offering her sword to protect Sansa and Sansa graciously accepting, was so emotionally satisfying and allowed Sansa to get a much-needed win. If that was the last thing we saw before the credits roll, I think it would have made things feel more satisfying overall.
Most of the rest of the episode was devoted to setting up things for the remainder of the season, which is unsurprising in a season premiere. The big shake up in Dorne has me curious what will happen now that, like the Wall, unhappy soldiers have mutinied and killed those in charge. And I’m excited to see what Tyrion and Varys will do to fix Meereen (and, what the presence of Lord of Light missionaries means for the city). I enjoyed the scene with Jaime and Cersi, though I can’t say it gave me much of a sense of where they are headed now. Blind Arya begging on the street, at least for now, was less interesting to me. And Daenerys being kidnapped by the Dothraki, essentially reverting her back to square one after season after pointless season of her spinning her wheels instead of ever making any progress toward Westeros, just makes me roll my eyes.
Overall, it was a solid, if somewhat unremarkable, season premiere. The end felt flat and the Danny stuff felt like pointless stalling, but I’m very excited by everything happening in the North. I’m also excited to see what will happen the further we get off-book.
And another thing …
- I told my fiancee that I’ll be using Jaime Lannister’s speech to Cersi as my vows: “Fuck prophecy. Fuck fate. Fuck everyone who isn’t us. We’re the only ones who matter. The only ones in the world.” You may now kiss the bride.
- If Kit Harington is signed on for the whole season and Jon Snow remains dead, I’m hoping they just go full Weekend at Bernie’s with it and have Davos and Company have to convince others that he’s still alive.
- Before Brienne showed up, Theon suggested Sansa should head north to the Wall to be reunited with Jon Snow. I’m curious if that will still be their plan now and how that will work out given the state of the Wall.
- If you want to read more about the Melisandre’s reveal, Joanna Robinson from Vanity Fair has a good write up on what it might mean for the future.
Written by Joel Murphy. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact Joel at firstname.lastname@example.org